Submitted by Jen Jones on Sat, 04/25/2009 - 9:14am
So you've got a pile of bills and not enough money to pay them. This has been going on for some time now and you're getting further and further behind on your payments: 30 days on some, 90 days on others, and even six months on a few. So what can you do? You could just do nothing. Maybe you'll finally hit the jackpot this month with your "Cash 5- lotto ticket and you'll be able to pay off all your debts. If you don't happen to run into a pot of gold, you could turn off your phone, ignore the late notices, and hope your creditors will just give up after enough time goes by. They can't really do anything to you without filing a lawsuit, right? And isn't there a limit to the period of time that they can file suit anyway? Maybe they'll just forget about you and the time will expire.
Well, the trouble is, your creditors won't forget about you, they don't necessarily have to file a lawsuit to collect on the debts, and even if they do, the chances are almost 100% that they'll file before the statute of limitations expires. The fact is, if you've got debt piling up that you can't afford to pay off, filing bankruptcy is probably your best -“ and maybe your only -“ real option. This will stop further collection activity, and give you the chance to take back your financial life.
Just consider for a moment some of things that could happen if you fail to take any action. If you have a home and are behind on your mortgage payments, the lender could foreclose on the property. And, if you owe more on the loan than the lender recoups in the foreclosure sale, you could be on the hook for the difference. Even if the lender cancels the remaining debt, your problems won't necessarily be over: you may have to pay taxes on the canceled debt (it's considered "income- believe it or not) -“ at the federal and the state level, depending upon where you live. And what about your car? If you're behind on your car payments, the lender could repossess the car. This could be quite inconvenient -“ not to mention embarrassing -“ because the lender could show up any time and just haul the car away. Also, if you have federal student loans and you're past due on the payments, the government can garnish your wages -“ without even going to court. This means it can take money directly out of your paycheck (sometimes up to 10%), before you ever see it! The government also has the power to seize your property to pay off back taxes you might owe.
You also should consider the emotional side of things. Having to fend off constant high-pressure calls from creditors is exhausting. It takes time away from your family, and can cause real emotional distress. What's more, your credit rating will continue to get worse and worse every month as you continue to carry these unmanageable debts. Bankruptcy can stop the downward spiral, and give you a chance to make a fresh start. Stop the cycle! Call a bankruptcy attorney today; you can't afford not to.
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